Reward offered in search for ax-wielding thief in Laurel County

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s a crime wave that has occurred in at least three different counties.

Mike Patel says his Mac’s Fillin station in Corbin was the most recent victim.

“He broke into the ATM machine. Took all the cigarette cartons…even electric cigarettes,” Patel said.

The thief broke into the store and then destroyed the ATM to get cash. The thief’s actions were captured on video at a store in Goldbug in Whitley county. Police think the same guy targeted money machines in Laurel and Knox Counties .

“It’s in the neighborhood of 6 or 7 so far that we know of,” said Gilbert Acciardo with the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.

The thief even disabled the video system at the Corbin store and ripped out the alarm at the East Bernstadt Shell station.

In each case, the thief breaks open the door then uses an axe to chop into the money machine. He also steals Marlboro cigarettes. And it’s a crime the thief takes some time to commit.

“But we are still talking about 5 minutes or less,” Acciardo said.

Enough time to create a big mess, but not enough to get caught.

Police say it was likely a well planned, executed endeavor, with possibly someone in the parking lot waiting and watching while the crime was committed.

With their leads dried up, police are asking for your help. A $500 reward from Crime Stoppers is the first step towards that.

“And if it does pan out, we will pay you in cash. No questions asked,” said Acciardo.

You can call 606-878-7000 if you have any information that could help police. You can also call police in Knox and Whitley Counties.

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